Re­spect lives of ev­ery hu­man be­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION - L. ROBERTS

I AM a proud Ja­maican woman. I am not black and cer­tainly not white. In fact, I am from such a mixed back­ground that I sim­ply em­brace my ‘Ja­maican­ness’ with­out giv­ing it much more thought.

The love of my life was a strong black man. A true de­scen­dant of slav­ery, and our chil­dren are as ‘mix up and blenda’ as one can get – one black, one brown and one some­where in-be­tween. Colour has ob­vi­ously never been an is­sue for my fam­ily ... un­til now.

En­ter ‘Black Lives Mat­ter’ and within days I was asked by one of my chil­dren if his sib­ling’s life means more than his. I have strug­gled to answer this ques­tion and have de­cided to in­stead pro­mote in my home the mantra that ev­ery life mat­ters.

It should not be that ev­ery time a race gets per­se­cuted, as all have been at some point in time, they come up with a new slo­gan to doc­u­ment that fact: ‘In­dian Lives Mat­ter’, ‘Chi­nese Lives Mat­ter’, ‘Pak­istani Lives Mat­ter’, ‘White Lives Mat­ter’... when will this end? While it will not nec­es­sar­ily be a pop­u­lar sen­ti­ment, I find the term ‘Black Lives Mat­ter’ to be di­vi­sive in and of it­self, and ac­tu­ally think that it does lit­tle more than pro­mote racism, which I would hate to think the founders of that move­ment in­tended.

My view is that the hu­man rights of one and all should be re­spected. Po­lice bru­tal­ity, whether it be against black, white, red, yel­low or green, is de­spi­ca­ble and should be con­demned as such.

Should I be ashamed of this view? Should I be fear­ful while pre­par­ing for pos­si­ble boy­cotts of the busi­ness place where I work? At­tacks on Twit­ter and so­cial me­dia? Be­fore I pre­pare my­self for per­haps all of the above, we in Ja­maica ought to stay true to our motto, ‘Out of Many, One Peo­ple’, and fo­cus on the re­spect of hu­man rights of ev­ery brother and sis­ter re­gard­less of the colour of their skin. Yes, it may seem un­re­al­is­tic and the­o­ret­i­cal but it is what I will con­tinue to teach my chil­dren un­til such time when the main­stream me­dia seeks to di­vide them and teach them other­wise.

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